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30 DigiCULT
and dynamic presentation and interaction, this would
involve in particular re-creating the feeling and expe-
rience of being present in an environment, a `sense
of being there'. `Haptics' play a major role in this, i.e.
applications that offer force feedback interaction, per-
ception of surface texture, etc., which is very direct
and less intellectually demanding than other senses.
n ambient intelligence environments, the informa-
tion and communication technologies, the con-
text in which they are deployed, and the users who
make use of them together form a dynamic system.
Therefore, regular or temporary `inhabitants' of the
environment should not be treated as outside the
system but placed at its centre, with the technolo-
gies responding to their various needs and wishes.
The expectation is that `the applications will evolve
around the user and the network will evolve around
the applications'.
In user-centred environments, awareness of user
contexts and preferences may come from the analysis
of sensor, tracking and positioning data, and continu-
ous analysis of the use of services based on dynamic
user profiles. The context-aware surroundings should,
of course, not be intrusive for inhabitants, but actively
support them in accomplishing various tasks by self-
determining current context and providing or pre-
paring available resources or services.
Currently, scenarios of context awareness often
concentrate on individuals, but context-aware envi-
ronments will also need to effectively support groups
of people such as a family or a work team. Hence,
many environments will also need to be capable of
tracking and harmonising preferences of group mem-
bers and currently available resources in an environ-
Capturing, storing and re-using user contexts and
preferences in networked environments will need
to be accompanied by a sustained level of trust.
According to the MEDEA+ Applications Technolo-
gy Roadmap (2003), we may see `security, safety and
privacy issues penetrating into each person's life and
becoming all-pervasive in both private and public
Prototyping the user context and cultural
experience at an open-air museum
Researchers from the Limburgs Universitair Cen-
trum, Expertise Centre for Digital Media (Bel-
gium), have explored the use of a mobile guide in
a (prototype) AmI environment set up at the Cen-
trum and the nearby open air museum Bokrijk
and Gallo-Roman Museum of Tongeren. Curren-
tly, the mobile guide (PDA) works outdoors using
GPS to position the user, and Bluetooth to com-
municate with physical objects that are in the
direct neighbourhood of the device. As RFID tags
have too restricted a communication range (maxi-
mum about 30 cm), autonomous processing units
with Bluetooth support are used. Here, the com-
plexity of actually prototyping the visitor experien-
ce can only be addressed briefly: For the `context
of use' the researchers use a CoDAMoS context
ontology, which is built around four main entities:
user, environment, platform and service. Further-
more, a proximity manager is used that provides the
relevant map-based information according to the
moves and turns of the cultural tourist. The proxi-
mity range, i.e. where the tourist should get whi-
ch information, is different for different objects
(the researchers suggest scaling the proximity range
linearly with the object's volume and importance).
Annotating the interactive maps with information
on an object as well as its relations with other arte-
facts would be the task of a curator of the open-
air museum. In this way, the subject-matter expert
may well be the one who prototypes the cultu-
ral experience by drawing the visitor's attention to
a particular artefact, its relations to others, and sug-
gesting an interesting route to take through the
cultural site.
Kris Luyten and Karin Coninx: "ImogI: Take Con-
trol over a Context Aware Electronic Mobile Gui-
de for Museums", Workshop on HCI in Mobile
Guides, in conjunction with Mobile HCI 2004
(Glasgow, 13 September 2004). http://research.
Companion Web page to the article:
CoDAMoS context ontology, http://www.cs.
Autonomic-commu-, "Autonomic
Summary Report:
Situated and Autonomic
Communications, ed.
by Fabrizio Sestini
(18/5/2004), http://www.
autonomic-communica; ftp://ftp.
For a broad discussion
of context-aware collabora-
tive environments see the
COCONET Research
Agenda and Roadmap (11
June 2003), http://www.
MEDEA+ Applications
Technology Roadmap.
Vision on Enabling
Technologies of the
future. Version 1.0, p. 8, 25
November 2003. http://
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